Hannah Williams started Salary Transparent Street in April 2023 to bring attention to pay disparities and lack of salary transparency. The concept emerged from her personal experience being significantly underpaid as a senior data analyst.
“I found out that I was underpaid about 20 to 25 thousand dollars based on my market research. And I realized when I started interviewing for new jobs because I asked for a raise and they wouldn’t give it to me, and I started looking for a new job. And when I was doing interviews, I realized that a lot of times there’s no transparency in how much you can be paid,” Williams said.
Hannah Williams: Breaking The Salary Taboo: The Rise Of Salary Transparent Street
Frustrated by the opacity around compensation, Williams devised a simple but impactful plan to ask people on the street about their occupations and salaries, filming the interactions and posting them on social media.
“I couldn’t call Elon Musk or some big tech company and [say] start being transparent. So I realized that if we brought attention to the movement with social media, then maybe we could have some impact,” she explained.
Teaming up with her now-husband, Williams hit the streets of Washington, D.C. armed with a microphone and iPhone cameras. Their very first Salary Transparent Street video garnered 1 million views overnight.
“And so we realized really quickly that there was something, you know, that we could do full time there. And so that’s how we got,” said Williams.
While Williams had never envisioned herself as a content creator before stumbling upon this social cause, she gravitated toward producing videos even in her previous data analyst role. She started sharing insight into her job and compensation on TikTok.
“I started a personal TikTok account, and it was really an outlet for me to talk about issues that I was having in my job. And I broke into it from business and people were curious [about questions like] how do I learn data analysis? And I started making videos about how much I made. So I realized pretty quickly that people are curious about other jobs [were] looking for opportunities to try new things,” Williams remarked.
The enthusiastic response affirmed there was broad interest in salary transparency. This led Williams to launch a dedicated platform to keep driving the mission. In just under a year, Salary Transparent Street has effected change by empowering compensation conversations.
The overarching mission of Salary Transparent Street is eliminating taboos around discussing pay in order to help close compensation gaps negatively impacting women, minorities, disabled individuals, and LGBTQ+ employees.
“The mission of salary Transparent Street is to remove taboo surrounding pay, but ultimately help close pay gaps that marginalize primarily women, minorities, workers with disabilities, and workers of the Lgbtq+ community,” said Williams. “Once we reduce the stigma and improve transparency inherently. Those bridges, those gaps will bridge. They won’t be closed entirely because there’s so many issues that need addressing with work, culture and bias. But it’s one way that we can actually have an impact on those pay gaps and make sure that equal pay becomes a reality for all workers. That’s really our mission.”
Williams relies heavily on audience input to shape Salary Transparent Street’s content. She asks followers almost monthly what careers they want to see featured.
“Really, just by talking to the audience? I ask them almost every month, you know, what are some careers that you want us to interview? And people will tell us, you know, whether we ask or not. They’ll tell us in the comments, hey, can you interview these people?” she said.
She also pays attention to news about strikes and other labor actions to identify timely topics and perspectives.
In addition, Williams capitalizes on random street encounters, filming whichever willing passersby they meet. Location often dictates the mix of interview subjects.
“Sometimes we want to go interview people in health care, and we don’t meet a single person that works in health care. Wherever we are is where we’ll film and hopefully we get good content,” Williams stated.
She strives to keep interviews authentic by always obtaining consent first and not staging anything. This lends an organic feel that audiences respond to.
“I’m a natural consumer of content. I’m on TikTok scrolling just as much as anybody else. And there’s a sense you get when you watch content that, you know, is staged, you know that there’s no way that they had this random conversation. And so I don’t really like that. And I love that in our content, this is somebody that we asked, hey, can we ask you how much you make?” remarked Williams.
This genuine approach aligns with Salary Transparency’s mission of spotlighting real people and their pay truthfully.
As a small operation, Williams herself handles nearly all social media posting, commenting and audience interaction across Salary Transparent Street’s channels. This high degree of personal engagement fosters an authentic community feel.
“I am the person posting, commenting, engaging and I will say it’s a detriment to my mental health because I’m constantly on it, but really just being there,” Williams said.
She makes an effort to respond to as many audience comments as possible, unlike creators who selectively engage with just a few fans. Her consistent involvement signals to followers that there are real people behind the brand who care.
“Our audience feels like we’re actually real people and they know that the person commenting back to them is a real person, which is difficult to achieve because our content is a front facing, you know, I’m not really the one in front of the screen constantly talking to them, but because I’m in all the videos, there’s this sense of there’s Hannah. And then when I respond to them, [they realize], oh, she’s like real,” Williams explained.
This care for her audience extends to partnerships as Williams is extremely selective about brand collaborations, saying no to 99% of offers. She prioritizes quality over quantity, only aligning with companies authentically serving their niche audience rather than chasing deals.
“I’d rather have fewer partnerships that perform really well because they’re very aligned with our audience, then multiple partnerships and more money. But half of them don’t perform well because it’s not what our audience wants. And so, we’re not trying to sell out. We’re very aligned with making sure that any partnerships we do deliver something to our audience,” she said.
Williams builds trust by never monetizing directly from followers. Revenue comes strictly from highly-relevant brand alliances. Her top partnerships emerged through personal connections highlighting networking’s immense value, even over agents.
Indeed was Salary Transparent Street’s first partner, landed thanks to an industry contact’s introduction. A grassroots networking call on Instagram secured their second major deal with Capital One. Workshops hosted at Capital One cafes align perfectly with their mission of normalizing money conversations.
“It’s not a it’s not a [traditional] credit card partnership. They’re not asking us to sell a credit card and it’s not what our audience wants. Our audience wants to remove the taboo of money. And so the beauty of the partnership is that what we’re doing is we’re hosting workshops at Capital One cafes. So we’re talking about money in a public place, you know, and reducing the stigma. So it’s just perfectly aligned with our goals,” said Williams.
Street interviews empowering salary transparency conversations will remain Salary Transparent Street’s core focus in 2024. However, Williams shared plans to take the operation international.
“We’re actually hoping to expand and start going internationally soon. So more Canada, more Europe, maybe some Asia. That would be cool to do in 2024. So those are some of our plans,” she revealed.
While keeping their signature candid wage discussion videos, a new YouTube show launching in February will showcase salaries and occupations from additional illuminating angles not yet explored.
“We have a new show that we’re launching on YouTube in February next year, and it’s going to be I won’t give away too much, but it’s an expansion of what we currently do on the street that is going to give a really 360 view of careers and salaries in a way that we haven’t done yet,” Williams teased.
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Courtesy : https://www.netinfluencer.com/hannah-williams-of-salary-transparent-street/